Puppy and Kitten Care

We Get You and Your Pet Off to the Right Start


Get Your Puppy and Kitten off to a Great Start at Penfield Veterinary Hospital

Getting your puppy or kitten started on a regular, tailored check-up routine will get your pet off to a great start in life. It is vital to keep your young pet on a schedule of exams so that you and your veterinarian can stay ahead of any health issues.

Basic Pet Care Needs

Congratulations! Raising a new puppy or kitten is a lot of fun—and a lot of work! At Penfield Veterinary Hospital, we believe in establishing a strong foundation for your new pet to ensure a lifetime of health and wellness. The following schedules are typical for most puppies and kittens, but rest assured our team will always make specific recommendations as well:

Puppy Schedule
8 weeks

  • DHPP #1 (distemper/hepatitis/parainfluenza/parvo virus)
  • Bordetella vaccine, if needed
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Begin heartworm prevention
  • Begin parasite prevention
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Behavioral training

12 Weeks

  • DHLPP #2 (distemper/hepatitis/leptospirosis/parainfluenza/parvo virus)
  • Dental assessment
  • Optional Lyme vaccine #1 (optional)

16 Weeks

  • DHLPP #3
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Optional Lyme vaccine #2

6 Months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping

Puppy Behaviors

8–12 weeks

  • Puppies this age are very playful and curious, so it’s important to puppy-proof your home. Provide lots of love, toys, and encouragement. Security and predictability considerations are crucial.
  • Purchase a high-quality puppy food that lists a whole meat source as the first ingredient. Follow the serving guidelines.
  • Everything your puppy encounters may have a lasting impact, so remember this when establishing house rules.

12–16 weeks

  • This is when your puppy discovers where he or she falls in the pack (your family). Your role is to become the pack leader. Be consistent with rules and avoid games of dominance such as tug-of-war or wrestling.
  • Reward all positive behaviors.
  • Consider enrolling in puppy training courses.

5–18 months

  • Many of the behavior issues during this time (urine marking, roaming, inter-species aggression, increased dominance) can be reduced or eliminated with spaying/neutering.
  • Energy levels are high, and mental and physical exercise play a large role in keeping your pet healthy and well behaved.


Kitten Schedule

8 Weeks

  • FVRCP #1 (feline viral rhinotracheitis/calicivirus/panleukopenia)
  • Feline leukemia vaccine (FeLV) #1 (optional vaccine)
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Feline leukemia/feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) testing
  • Begin parasite prevention protocol
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Litter box training

12 Weeks

  • FVRCP #2
  • Feline leukemia vaccine #2
  • Stool exam and deworming

16 Weeks

  • FVRCP#3
  • Rabies vaccine

6 Months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping
  • FeLV/FIV testing
Kitten Behaviors
7–14 Weeks

  • Provide an outlet for your kitten’s natural scratching behavior (e.g., a cat tree) and note whether there’s a preference for a specific texture or orientation (horizontal or vertical).
  • Purchase high-quality kitten food and follow your veterinarian’s guidelines.
  • Position a litter box or two in easily accessible areas. We recommend a minimum of one box per cat per floor. Scoop daily and clean weekly to ensure appropriate elimination behavior.

3–6 Months

  • Regular play times are important to growth and development. Avoid rough play as this will encourage inappropriate nipping/scratching.
  • Schedule your kitten’s spay/neuter surgery. This procedure should occur by the time your pet is 6 months old.
Microchipping is crucial to the safety of your new puppy or kitten. Please contact us for more information about this important practice.
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